PhD student received ‘sexist’ LinkedIn compliment from a top legal expert
He said: ‘You definitely win the prize for the best LinkedIn picture I have ever seen’
A furious Cambridge student has hit out after receiving a “sexist” message from a leading solicitor, complimenting her LinkedIn profile picture.
Charlotte Proudman, 27, who is studying a PhD in female genital mutilation, was called “stunning” on the career networking site.
And she was even told she had won “the prize for the best LinkedIn picture”.
The surprise message came from Alexander Carter-Silk, a 57-year-old top legal expert and partner in a London law firm.
It read: “Charlotte, delighted to connect. I appreciate this is probably horrendously politically incorrect but that is a stunning picture !!!”
“You definitely win the prize for the best Linked in picture I have ever seen.
“Always interested to understant people’s skills and how we might work together.”
The message was intended as a compliment, but Charlotte blasted the out the blue inbox in a response.
She said: “I find your message offensive. I am on linked-in for business purposes, not to be approached about my physical appearance or objectified by sexist men.
“The eroticism of women’s physical appearance is a way of exercising power over women.”
She added: “It silences women’s professional attributes as their physical appearance becomes the subject. Unacceptable and misogynistic behaviour.
“Think twice before sending another woman – half your age – such a sexist message.”
Speaking after the bust-up on LinkedIn, Charlotte said this kind of behaviour is typical in the legal profession.
And she even plans to report Alexander to the solicitor’s watchdog if she doesn’t receive a full apology.
Charlotte told The Times: “When I read the comment I thought ‘Here we go again, another sexist message.’
“When I saw it was from a senior legal professional in the law, I thought ‘No – this is really unacceptable.
“This is someone entrusted to hold up the law.
“If he is willing to do this online, how does he treat his women professional colleagues?”
Charlotte’s says in her Twitter profile that “rape, prostitution and pornography are problems of male dominance”.
She built up a respected legal practice after graduating from Keele, and has returned to uni to study the PhD in Female Genital Mutilation.
The barrister changed her surname to Proudman to Bailye just four years ago to honour her Grandmother.
And as an undergrad she once fought against £458 in unpaid parking fines, claiming they were to avoid being late for lectures.
Charlotte says lawyers have to “call out” this kind of behaviour, which is why she shared her LinkedIn exchange on Twitter.
Alexander Carter-Silk has over 25 years legal experience and has represented model Elle Macpherson in the phone hacking scandal, being a partner in the London law firm Brown Rudnick.
Charlotte said the solicitor had apologised for any offence caused, but not for what he had said.
He has not given a response, but his firm said: “We are aware of the comments made by a member of the firm on a private social media account.
“We have apologised for the offence caused and have no further comment to make.”
But last week Alexander wrote on law message board RollOnFriday: “Most people post pretty unprofessional pictures on LinkedIn.
“My comment was aimed at the professional quality of the presentation on LinkedIn which was unfortunately misinterpreted.”